MGM Grand Arena
The MGM GRAND ARENA is a hotel casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. It is the second largest hotel in the world by number of rooms and the largest hotel resort complex in the United States (when it opened in 1993, the MGM Grand was the largest hotel in the world).
Owned and operated by MGM Resorts International, the 30-floor main building is 293 ft high. It includes five outdoor pools, rivers, and waterfalls that cover 6.6 acres, a 380,000 sq ft convention center, the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and the Grand Spa. It also houses numerous shops and night clubs, 19 restaurants, and the largest casino in Clark County, which occupies 171,500 sq ft.
On February 23, 1993, MGM GRAND ARENA celebrated a “topping off” ceremony with the placement of the last panel of emerald green glass hoisted onto one of the 30-story hotel towers. A total of 5,005 green balloons were released, each containing a gift certificate valid for one complimentary stay in one of the rooms. The idea emerged to sound too creative to catch attention and eagerness among the people of the States. At this time it had an extensive Wizard of Oz theme, including the green color of the “Emerald City”.
When the MGM Grand began its extensive refurbishment in 1996, the Oz Casino was the first to go. The Emerald City was completely demolished, and the “Emerald City Gift Shop” was moved to a new shopping section of the casino.
Originally, the main entrance on the Strip to MGM GRAND ARENA was inside the mouth of a giant cartoon-like version of MGM’s mascot, Leo the Lion, but this entrance feature was changed to a more traditional entrance for the reason many Chinese gamblers avoided the casino or entered through the back entrance, due to the feng shui belief that entering the mouth of the lion was “bad luck.”. In 1998, a large bronze statue of Leo was added above the entrance to keep with the MGM Lion theme, while not scaring away their more superstitious guests. The statue weighs 50 tons, and at 45 feet tall, on a 25-foot pedestal, is the largest bronze statue in the U.S.
When the MGM GRAND ARENA was opened, the intention was to create the first true destination hotel in the Las Vegas area by including the MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park behind the casino. The plan was to make the Las Vegas Strip more family friendly by providing activities for children who were too young to be allowed to linger inside the casino but the theme park performed poorly. On December 5, 2002, MGM Mirage announced that the former theme park would be developed as a ‘luxury condominium and hotel complex’ called The Signature.
On April 26, 2000, MGM opened a new satellite registration/hotel check-in center at the McCarran International Airport. This is the first of its kind opened by a hotel company at any United States airport.
More recently, the resort has used the phrase, “Maximum Vegas” referring to the vast amount of activities MGM Grand offers its guest and there can be no doubt to the fact about the happiness of its existence.